Happy 2021 and Happy Veganuary! I love that January has been adopted by Veganism and plant-based eating. If you didn’t already know, Veganuary is a campaign which is set up to encourage people to try being vegan for the month of January. It is a really great way of trying out veganism and seeing what it’s like for yourself, and what better goal for the new year than to reduce harm to animals!?
I know a few people either going fully vegan for January or just trying to eat more plant-based meals, and either way I think it is great.
I thought I would compose a list of handy tips for all of you giving it a go and collect together all of my best advice into one place.
So, let’s dive straight in!
There are so many plant-based milks available now I think it can almost be overwhelming knowing where to start in terms of finding one that you like. I am certain I have tried them all over the years and ultimately it comes down to personal taste. If you’re looking for a good and easily available straight swap, I would suggest trying Alpro Soya Light first. I found the original version to be too sweet but this one is near perfect. It also works extremely well in tea and coffee and doesn’t separate like some of the cheaper soya plant-based milks.
I also use oat milk a lot in cereals, smoothies and baking. And I prefer coconut milk in my Matcha lattes. So, don’t be surprised, if you end up with a few different plant-based milks and use them for different things. Most plant-based milks have a longer expiry date and can be stored in the cupboard until you are ready to use them (once opened, store in the fridge).
Dairy Free Spread
Again, just like with milk, there now seems to be many great choices available in terms of dairy free spreads. I tend to mix mine up quite a lot and I don’t tend to stick to only one brand but the one’s that I have always found myself going back to are Vitalite, Pure Sunflower and Flora Dairy Free. All of these can easily be found at your local supermarket.
To be honest I found eggs the easiest thing to give up and I don’t miss them at all. I would recommend trying a scrambled tofu recipe, which can be used for breakfast or brunch as well as in savoury dishes like egg fried rice.
In terms of baking there are a lot of alternatives to eggs. My top suggestions are:
- Overripe banana
- Chia egg (1 tbsp of chia seeds with 2 tbsp water left to thicken)
- Silken tofu
- Vegan yogurt
- Fruit or veggie puree
- Aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas)
Cheese was always such a big one for me and something I never thought I could live without. I was really surprised how quickly I managed to ween myself off it altogether and I think the easiest option when I was a baby vegan, was to just go without. However, vegan cheese alternatives have really improved the last few years, so I have tried a few more recently. For example, Morrison’s now offer their own vegan cheese range, Applewood’s have a brilliant cheese which melts beautifully and for an accessible easy alternative VioLife is readily available in most supermarkets both sliced and grated.
Vegan Cook Books
Recipe books are the perfect way to find some inspiring vegan meals to make yourselves at home, especially if you enjoy cooking from scratch. There are so many vegan recipe books out there, and more and more coming out all the time, but some of my personal favourites include Thug Kitchen, Veganomicon, Vegan On The Go and Deliciously Ella.
More Than Food
If you’re new to veganism and trying Veganuary for the first time, then I would maybe suggest just focusing on your diet for now. But it may also be the perfect time to start researching and keeping an eye out for vegan alternatives in your beauty and make up regime, as well as household and cleaning products. It is a gradual process and I would just start slowly and know that every swap makes a difference.
An easy swap I made almost immediately was my hair care to vegan friendly products, and shower gel to Original Source (which is available in most supermarkets). I use mostly Tropic Skincare but there are plenty of choices out there and most companies are wearing their ‘veganism’ with pride, so they are easier to spot on the packaging. I love my reusable pads for my cleanser and micellar water, after a few uses just throw in a delicates bag (most pads come with a bag) and wash in your machine with your normal load.
Another easy swap was my cleaning sprays and solutions to Method Cleaning and laundry to Ecover. These products tend to be a bit more expensive, but they do last!
I also use bamboo cleaning tools like my broom, dustpan and brush and scrubs. I regularly buy a pack of bamboo toothbrushes (Panda Brush), the bristles tend to be a bit softer so they need replacing a little more regularly, but most are a very good price.
We also order our toilet paper from Who Gives A Crap which is made without trees, completely plastic free, and certified with the highest standards of social and environmental impact as well as donating 50% of their profits to help build toilets.
To try Who Gives A Crap for yourself, follow the link below for £5.00 off your first order!
Is Vegan Not The Same As Cruelty Free?
No it’s not, and this is an important one. The word ‘vegan’ relates purely to the ingredients in a product and the words ‘cruelty free’ mean that a product hasn’t been tested on an animal. It is possible to have a cruelty free product which hasn’t been tested on animals but isn’t vegan friendly because it may contain an ingredient like beeswax. You may choose to just try to focus on shopping cruelty free at first – and that’s ok! It can be overwhelming to try to change everything all at once.
Another great source of information is the online community. I am sure that just by searching ‘veganuary’ on Instagram you will come across a wealth of ideas, advice and inspiration. My Instagram account is @generosityofspirit and I post daily vegan food inspiration, so do give me a follow if you don’t already!
Easy Vegan Meal Ideas
Yogurt Pots with Muesli and Fruit
Marmite or Peanut Butter on Toast
Tomato and Basil on Toast
Porridge with Alpro Soya Light milk or Oat Milk topped with Fruit
Mixed Fruit Smoothie
Accidentally vegan Jus Rol – Pan Au Chocolat, Croissants or Cinnamon Rolls
Scrambled Tofu on Toast
Sourdough Bagel with Dairy Free Spread
Banana / Grapes / Apple
Handful of Nuts
The Protein Ball Co. Protein Balls
M&S Plant Kitchen Hot Cross Bun
Pitta bread or Corn Crackers & Hummus
Avocado and Cucumber on Sourdough
Super Food and Seed Salad
Falafel & Hummus in Pitta Bread with Salad
Avocado Salad Sandwich
Jacket Potato and Salad
Vegan Sausage Roll with Salad
Vegan Sandwich (most supermarkets have so many vegan sandwich fillers)
Soup and Crusty Bread
Linda McCartney Sausages, Potato Mash, Peas and Gravy
Marinated Tofu and Vegetable Stir-fry
Red or Green Thai Curry with Rice
Stir-fry Vegetables with Noodles, Tahini and Soy Sauce
Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese (we use Meat Free Farm Mince)
(Your choice of ) Pasta with Roasted Mixed Pepper, Aubergine, Courgette, Garlic and Tomato topped with Basil
Roast dinner with Meat Free protein alternative or Nut Roast, with your choice of Vegetables, Stuffing & of course Roast Potatoes!
A Rainbow Bowl – a mix of Veggies, Quinoa, Beans, Lentils, Salad (or whatever takes your fancy!)
Vegan Burger with Potato or Sweet Potato Wedges
Vegetable, Lentil or Jackfruit Curry
Vegan Lasagne (usual bolognese mix but instead of a typical white cheesy layer I used grated courgette and spinach)
One Pot Roasted Mixed Bean Chilli with Rice
Vegan Pizza (either make your own with Jus Rol pizza bases or buy frozen)
I hope some of this information helps you on your own journey. Any changes that you make and every time you choose to either eat or buy vegan you are making a massive difference. Veganism isn’t about perfection, it’s about doing what you can, no matter how big or small. Every little counts!
As ever, feel free to get in touch with me if you have any questions or would like any advice or any recipes!
Wishing you all a Happy New Year and an even happier Veganuary!